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February 13, 2007

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Sixtieth General Assembly

Special Sitting

11:45 A.M.


Hon. Cecil Clarke


Mr. Wayne Gaudet

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: His Honour, the Speaker.

[The Speaker took the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER: Please be seated.

[11:45 a.m.]

Order, please. At this time we would like to invite all of the guests who have assembled in the gallery today for this historic visit to now proceed to the Red Chamber on this level of the Legislature for the reception with Her Excellency, so please feel free to move at this time. There are a couple of other matters before the House that will take just a few moments, so at this time I'd ask you to make your way and help continue with the celebration for this Nova Scotian first.


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Order, please. Given the special session of the House today, it was an opportunity for a first and a beginning in Nova Scotia to possibly a new tradition, and Nova Scotians are well-versed in establishing great traditions. As much as it is a beginning, it also marks an end - to one degree - and I would now call upon the honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It is my pleasure to rise in my place and bring a few brief remarks with respect to our colleague, the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage. The member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage has been here now, I guess, almost nine years, in a few more weeks. I want to wish our member, our fellow colleague, all the best as he moves forward into his new role and the responsibilities that he'll be undertaking in Vietnam.

Mr. Speaker, when I think of the member there are many things I think about, but this is on the record so I can't say them. (Laughter) Having come to this Legislature not long after that, in 1999, like all members of this House, I've gained a real respect for that member. One of the things that has always struck me is his detail here in this House of Assembly, as House Leader, and his real passion for the Rules of the House, and the engagement of those Rules and the history of the House. Along with that, of course, is his passion for justice and law and order here in Nova Scotia. I don't think a week went by where he didn't ask a question on law and order - many to the gentleman right beside me here, my Minister of Finance.

I think and I believe that the people of Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage have been well served by the member, and of course we are all interested in what happens with our province, but we have a particular interest in our ridings. I think the member, whether he was talking about schools or other important issues in his riding, has always spoken up for the people of Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to extend best wishes to his wife, Megan, and his children as well, and the change which will now be happening in their life with these new responsibilities. We thank you for all you've done in this Chamber. We thank you because we are all friends in this Chamber. Sometimes the level gets raised in here, we may get emotional sometimes in Question Period and at other times, but the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage has given a great deal to the people in his riding, to the people in our province. From our government and from the PC caucus, I want to say congratulations and the best of luck to the member. (Standing Ovation)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure to be able to rise to say a few words in regard to our colleague, the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage. It's so rare that we do have the opportunity here in this Chamber to recognize some of our colleagues who have served and who, for one reason or another, have either not re-

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offered for office or have left to pursue other ventures. Certainly, this is a golden opportunity, and I want to recognize you for giving us the opportunity to do that.

Mr. Speaker, as the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage is well aware, we have many things in common, he and I. We were both elected March 24, 1998. We were both re-elected in 1999, 2003, 2006. In fact, March 24th of this year will be the 9th Anniversary. I was hoping my colleague could have stayed for that, but we'll certainly think of him on March 24th. In fact, there is still a number of us from that class of 1998 who continue to serve in the House of Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, we're also both lawyers, and both of us served for many years on the Law Amendments Committee. At the same time, we're similar in age, he being a little bit older than I, but I'm pleased to say, as well, that we both still have a full head of hair, and we're both very sensitive to anyone who would suggest anything but. There are even some who have suggested that we even look alike in some ways, but I'm very pleased that, every night when someone says that, my wife, Claudine, still tells me that I'm the better looking of the two. (Laughter) That's why I married her.

Mr. Speaker, as has been mentioned by the Premier, we know that the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage has always had a great passion, not only for his job here in this House but certainly with how the House operates, as well as with the laws that are debated here in this House, and with the technicalities surrounding it. I believe during his time as House Leader, he has certainly done a commendable job, not only for the NDP caucus but certainly for all of us here in the House on a number of those issues. (Applause)

I have to tell you, Mr. Speaker, when we learned that he would no longer be an MLA and obviously no longer be the House Leader, I can tell you we were all in great fear, certainly in our caucus and I believe probably in the government caucus, because there had been a rumour out there that the Leader of the NDP might be bringing back John Holm to be the House Leader of the NDP caucus. (Laughter) I can assure you, we would have done our best to convince the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage to stay at that point, had that happened.

Mr. Speaker, as well, both myself and the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage have always enjoyed a great interest in the democracies of foreign countries, during our time here as legislators. We've both been able to compare notes about some of our travels, our experiences, and the great knowledge we have learned in our own efforts to try to encourage democracy in many of the countries where they do not enjoy the freedoms we enjoy here. In fact, I was hoping that the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage may have actually been arriving at his new location sooner, because next week I leave for Cambodia, which is not too far from where he will be. I know all of my

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colleagues will be happy to hear, unlike the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage, I'm actually coming back to the House of Assembly. (Laughter)

Mr. Speaker, as well, I know there is simultaneous translation that is taking place right now, so allow me to say, que je sais que mon collègue de Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage reconnait son dernier nom Deveaux, reconnait ses racines acadiennes, reconnait que pendant des années il nous a indiqué de pouvoir exprimer mieux la langue française, de la langue acadienne. Je l'encourage pendant qu'il est au Vietnam de reconnaître qu'il y a une grande communauté francophone au Vietnam. Il aura l'occasion avec ses enfants et son épouse d'apprendre la langue française et d'être capable de retourner içi en Nouvelle-Écosse un jour et partager avec nous sa fierté de sa culture acadienne, de ses racines acadiennes et de se prononcer içi en français dans notre province. Alors je l'encourage de faire ça pendant son temps Vietnam et je suis certain que ça sera une bonne occasion pour lui en même temps.

Mr. Speaker, allow me just to say in English that the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage, I believe, has been the Acadian Affairs Critic, for the most part, since 1998, and knows his Acadian roots in his own family, and I believe has been a friend to the Acadian community. I'm sure I speak on behalf of the leaders within the Acadian community in thanking him for his efforts in supporting our culture, our language and our community throughout his efforts as House Leader of the NDP and as the Critic for Acadian Affairs.

Mr. Speaker, let me finish by saying, as the Premier has said, I believe the people of Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage have been well served for the past almost nine years, and I believe, at the end of the day, that our loss will be Vietnam's gain. I wish the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage, his wife, Megan, his children a wonderful experience. I can tell you, all Nova Scotians are proud when we see a legislator leave our province to go help a country to build a democracy, to enjoy the same freedom we enjoy here in Nova Scotia. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, thanks to you and to the Premier for the opportunity to pay tribute to the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage. I wanted to begin by saying that I know as soon as the Premier mentioned the words "school" and "Eastern Passage" that the member was hoping there might be an announcement that would actually commit, but if you're saving that for him to get up to speak, I could sit down now and you could make that commitment. That would certainly be a highlight of the day, if that were the case. (Laughter)

Mr. Speaker, many of us in this caucus have already had an opportunity to speak to Kevin since he made his decision. We've had our own opportunity to tell him how

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much we have appreciated the hard work he has done, his dedication, not just in this House and to his riding but also to the Party. Much of what happens in Party work goes unnoticed by people, kind of generally. His work with respect to our Party's platforms, his work in the structure of the Party, in fact the very way in which we choose our Leaders was part of what he contributed as a Party member, and someone who was keenly interested in the operation of our Party.

I would note this - I first met Kevin, as I recall, and we were trying to figure this out, but it was around 1984. I was going to law school, he had just started university. So we were both, believe it or not, in YND, the Young New Democrats, together - you can imagine that tandem right there. We ended up as roommates at the leadership convention in Winnipeg. I remember the northern Manitoba suite, I'm not sure if you do or not. (Laughter)

After that, we, in fact, both lived in downtown Dartmouth, around the corner from each other, from where I was working. After that, we ended up getting elected on the same night, in adjoining ridings. So there's been a kind of continuity to our time in this Party, which is sometimes unusual for people, to have that kind of history. I know that he knows - and I think actions always speak louder than words - when I appointed him the House Leader, it was because I knew what tremendous talents he would bring to that job, that he would carry out all those things that are demanded of the House Leader with great rigour, and apply all of his talents to doing that. I think that from what has been said here today, Kevin appreciates that all members of the House recognize that has been done. I am very pleased to tell you that at our last provincial council meeting, the provincial council of my Party also passed a motion, unanimously, thanking him for his contribution in the House and to the Party.

I know this is not the first time that Kevin has worked overseas. In fact, you worked for the ILO at one point in time, in China, if my recollection is correct. Kevin has, of course, a long history - the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage has a long history of working in countries around the world. As the Leader of the Liberal Party said, certainly Vietnam's gain will be our loss, felt acutely so by us in the Opposition benches. So thank you, Kevin, thank you. (Standing Ovation)

[12:00 noon]

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. While the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage is indeed going to Vietnam, where we know temperatures are known to be very hot, I can assure him that we don't need a groundhog to predict that things will heat up here in the very near future as well.

At this time, does the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage have any comments? I would call upon him at this time.

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The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

AN HON. MEMBER: Question. (Laughter)

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Some of the new members may not know this, but I guess I would have been sitting a couple of seats over before the last election, used to be that I had one on this side and I had Jerry Pye over in the corner, Mr. Speaker, and it was like the devil and the angel, sort of going back and forth. (Laughter) I won't say which one's the devil and which one's the angel. (Interruptions)

I want to start by thanking you, Mr. Speaker, for having the opportunity to have this occasion. As the Leader of the Liberal Party noted, it's unusual that we have an opportunity to do this and from my perspective, I'm humbled by all of this. This is a job that I have loved to do. I have loved to represent the people of Eastern Passage and Cole Harbour, and I have been honoured to represent them through four elections and subsequently. This is a wonderful institution. It's an institution that next year will be celebrating 250 years and it's an institution that's going to carry on for 250 more years and beyond. I'm one of a number of people who have had the honour to sit in a chair in this place and to me, to soak it up, to learn the rules, to understand the decorum - to me, it only helps to understand the respect we give this institution and it's one that I have always been proud to say that I was a member of.

To all of those who have given me both private and public comments, I want to thank you. It has been a pleasure serving with all of you and those members who served in the terms before this one. I say with a heavy heart, to some extent, that I leave, but it's an opportunity, it's a choice, it's a city, it's the right job for myself and my family and it's an opportunity that I just can't give up. I wish you all the best of luck in this House in the years to come and I will be back from time to time to check in on you, so thank you all. (Standing Ovation)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I wanted to rise to speak about another honourable member, and that's the Minister of Agriculture. The Minister of Agriculture is undergoing treatment over the next while for his illness, and I just wanted to speak for all members in wishing the Minister of Agriculture and all his family - because I know from personal experience the kind of strain that this places on the family as well, as they are worried for and caring for a loved one. So simply, on behalf of the members on this side of the House, I particularly wanted to extend our best wishes to the Minister of Agriculture for a speedy and complete recovery. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

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MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of our caucus, let me associate ourselves, as well, with the comments from the Minister of Finance. We certainly want to send our best wishes not only to the Minister of Agriculture, but as well to his family. As we all know here in this House, I believe each and every one of us, like so many Nova Scotians, has been touched by illness and we've seen just how difficult it is. But if there is one member we all recognize here for his resilience, it would be the Minister of Agriculture.

We certainly are all hopeful that that same resilience he has shown, not only throughout his political career but throughout his life, is going to pay big dividends for him as he goes through this current struggle. All of our hopes and prayers are with him and with his family, and we look forward to seeing him back in this House of Assembly very soon. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, briefly, I would like to add our thoughts and prayers for the Minister of Agriculture. He is a friend to people on all sides of this House. He is someone I've known since the day I walked through the doors and, interestingly, a person with whom I've had many conversations about the way in which things unfold - the way that this House works, and the way that the province works. I know how keenly interested, in particular, he is in the whole question of rural communities and agriculture. I know that as bad as we want him to be back here, he wants to be here. We wish him a full and speedy recovery on behalf of all the members of our caucus. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you very much. Honourable colleagues, we stand adjourned at the call of the Speaker.

[The House rose at 12:06 p.m.]